Great white pelican

Great white pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus

ClassAves
OrderPelecaniformes
FamilyPelecanidae
Size2.2–3.5m
Weight♂ 9–15kg, ♀ females 5–9kg
Incubation30 days
Eggs2
Life-span30 years
Diet
piscivorous (carps, cichlids, occasional chicks)

Habitat
coastal areas, lakes, deltas

Range
sedentary populations in Africa; migratory populations in eastern Europe, central Asia and northern India


Pelicans are among the largest birds that can fly, and they are also excellent gliders. Their feet are webbed and they have a pouch of stretchy skin below their beaks in which they can store a large volume of fish or water.
 
They live in colonies and fish together: arranged in a semi-circle, they advance slowly over the surface of the water, driving fish towards the bank. They then only have to catch them in their large beaks, which they use like landing nets.
 
Although they have a very large geographical distribution, pelicans are in decline in Europe, mainly because of the destruction of their habitat (draining of wetlands, increase in farming, industrialization) and pollution.




Status in the wild (Source: IUCN)

  • Not evaluated
    NE
  • Data deficient
    DD
  • Least concern
    LC
  • Near threatened
    NT
  • Vulnerable
    VU
  • Endangered
    EN
  •  Critically endangered
    CR
  • Extinct in the wild
    EW
  • Extinct
    EX

In the zoo